While dating, David and I frequently exchanged greeting cards. After our June 1979 wedding, filled with nuptial bliss, we’d pick up little gifts for each other. One of the first gifts I gave David as his new wife was a Neil Diamond record album. In turn, he gave me a lovely gold heart bracelet. After much hinting from his wife, he also brought home a small bouquet of yellow roses, when I informed him (repeatedly) yellow roses were my favorite flower. As struggling college students, we soon abandoned the practice of gift-giving outside of the usual holidays.
Since both of us were majoring in low-paying social work-related professions, it was unlikely we’d ever have much money, so we chose Neil Diamond’s “Forever in Blue Jeans” as our song.
Years later, in a marriage bogged down by bills and babies, I’d wryly joke that Diamond’s “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore” might better represent our union. Even after his cancer, when our marriage was the best it had ever been, we’d convinced ourselves that flowers might be a waste of money. Still, I vividly remember two times post-cancer that David brought me flowers. The first was when he brought a bouquet home for me on the day we were waiting for the doctor’s office to call, certain his cancer had returned. (99% sure, the doctor had warned us. the doctor was wrong.)
Uncharacteristically, David also brought me flowers that last Valentine’s Day before he died. It was so unexpected, (and yes, appreciated) that I took a picture of them.
I faced this week with some trepidation, the week that would mark four years since David’s death.
Monday night I spoke on friendship with my “Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink” co-author in front of a large group of women. Such lovely women, I thought to myself as they’d stop by our table on the way out.
A woman named TJ, and her friend Tammy stopped to talk. “You won one of the prizes!” I exclaimed to TJ, admiring the bouquet she held to her chest. She hesitated briefly, a disconcerted look on her face, before blurting, “I think I’m supposed to give it to you.”
“Oh, no, you won it. It’s yours,” I replied, perplexed. Why would she give it to me? Over 70 prizes had been awarded, over 70 women had walked out the door with their theirs, and this complete stranger was offering me her prize?
“I don’t know why, but I’m supposed to give it to you,” she said more firmly, holding the arrangement out to me.
“I can’t take that,” I protested, confused.
She set it down on the table. “Yes, it’s for you,” she insisted, and I gave her a hug and thanked her.
Later, in my friend Mary’s vehicle, I held the flowers on my lap for the trip home. “Wasn’t that strange, how that woman insisted the flowers were meant for me?” I asked Mary. She turned on the interior lights and I held the arrangement up for us to admire. When I turned it around. I think I audibly gasped. There were two yellow roses. And in the midst of the flowers, two butterflies.
I wish I’d gotten TJ’s full name and address. I’d love to let her know that her strong urge to give me her prize was heaven sent, that she was right…
I think the flowers were meant for me.
Thank you, David~
and yes, I am well aware my blog post title is grammatically incorrect